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Journal of No. 118

March 11th, 2010

What a difference 8 years makes. @ 04:54 pm

2002: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules 'under god' in the Pledge unconstitutional
(2004): The Supremes nullify it, saying Newdow doesn't have standing.
2010: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules the Pledge constitutional. (200 page decision)

'Under god' is "a reference to the historical and religious traditions of our country, not a personal affirmation through prayer or invocation that the speaker believes in God." And the Pledge is an optional patriotic exercise.

[Similarly, 'In God We Trust' on our coinage is "of a patriotic or ceremonial
character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental
sponsorship of a religious exercise." (only a 15 pager!)]

I'm not really torqued about this. Especially since the courts keep reminding us that these are merely ceremonial utterances that don't really mean anything other than 'Yay America!'
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[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 12th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
From the dissent: "Had my views prevailed here, our decision would not preclude
daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by public
schoolchildren. To the contrary, public schoolchildren would
be free to recite the Pledge as it stood for more than sixty
years, a patriotic Pledge with which many of us grew up —
a patriotic Pledge that is fully consistent with the Establishment
Clause. All that would be required would be the deletion
of the two words added by an amendment designed to promote
religion and to indoctrinate schoolchildren with a religious
belief. As has long been agreed in this nation, the
teaching of religious views is the function of the family and
the Church, not the State and the public school system."
[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 12th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Holy shit, the dissent is twice as long as the opinion.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 12th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Boy is Judge Reinhardt pissed off. And I can't help but be amused at his swipe at Palin:

For many Americans, the current version of the Pledge is
the only version they have ever known. Some individuals not
familiar with our political history may even be under the
impression that its language dates back to the founding fathers.4

4See, for example, the words of former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska:
“If [the Pledge] was good enough for the founding fathers, its [sic] good
enough for me . . . .” Eagle Forum Alaska, 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate
Questionnaire, July 31, 2006,
[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 12th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
The good news is, even though this was a devastating reversal, it's still a 2-1, which means there are still plenty of judges who do get it. And from a strictly legal point of view, precedent is on the side of the majority (even though the precedent is clearly wrong), making judges who don't want to get overturned leery of doing the right thing. Since the current Supreme Court is unlikely to see this as an establishment issue anyway, I think we should concentrate on thanking the judges who get it and educating the public about the history of "under God" (yes, it was intended to reinforce Christian morality) and how it alienates and harms atheists and non-Judeo-Christians.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 12th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Cribbing my comment from Fark about this issue:

If they'd deleted "Under God," Christians would have no way to express their faith in public and would undoubtedly be cast into the lake of fire come Judgment Day. So, dodged a bullet there.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 13th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
The way I see it, if the specific words in the Pledge of Allegiance are just ceremonial utterances, devoid of any real meaning, then we have to apply the same reasoning to phrases like "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", and "obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me". No one's expected to take those words SERIOUSLY, they're just traditional things you say at trials, inaugurations, and enlistments! As a bonus, think of all the legal fees we'll save by eliminating perjury trials, impeachments, and courts martial.

Journal of No. 118